What’s on the Ereader?: Chills, by Mary SanGiovanni.

CHILLS is described as a ‘True Detective meets H.P. Lovecraft’. I’ve never read any Lovecraft so I was very intrigued.

I found this book during my zombie book feast a few years back and downloaded a sample, but it wasn’t until May that I finally read it. It’s the first horror story I’ve bought. Usually, I stay away from that genre, but lately, I’ve been daring enough to try a few, and no, I don’t consider zombie books as horror, but that’s a different post.

The book takes place in a small town called Colby, in Connecticut. The town is ground zero for a cult that creates a doorway into another realm to unleash creatures from that realm into this one. There are a lot of grisly murders and cultish goings-on, wrapped up in a strong plot with interesting characters. The story moves along nicely and the plot kept me engaged so that even during the slower moments, I was hooked enough to keep reading.

The story jumps between two main characters; Kathy Ryan, a paranormal investigator, and Detective Jack Glazier. I’m not used to reading a story with multiple POVs, and at first, I found this a little distracting. Jumping between two POVs always throws me and takes a few paragraphs before I get back into the it, but there were sides to this plot that couldn’t be told from just one angle – especially during the final battle scenes – so it was necessary.

The only drawback I have deals with the deaths of four townsfolk. Ms. SanGiovanni goes into great detail about each of their deaths, but apart from showing how the creatures kill, it didn’t move the story forward and she could have left the other three out, as the characters who died were of no importance to the overall plot and were barely mentioned afterward, other than the fact they died.

Overall, this was a good story.

3 stars.

2013; A look back at book sales.

 

2013 was a good. I will remember it as the year everything finally started. SYMPATHY FOR THE DEMON came out at the beginning of summer and I wrote two other novels; THE POSSESSION OF MERCY MOREAU; my first attempt at a paranormal romance, and GUTTERCHILDE; the first book in my Steampunk adventure. I’m hoping to get both of these out in 2014. As to how, I’m not sure just, but the biggest thing to happen to me in 2013—I finally made some book sales!

From September 2011 to January 2013, I had a few sales. They were sporadic in total and weren’t enough to buy a cup of coffee. Until February. Then everything jumped. What did I do? I set the price of my first book of my paranormal series to perma-free.

Talk about a 360.

From February to July I had 3,923 downloads of my free ebook, then I did a little experiment and played around the books tags in August. From August to December I had a total of 4,324 downloads from four different countries. A total of 8,247, and that’s just from Amazon. I did good numbers for my free ebook on Smashwords as well; 1987, and that isn’t with the new tags either. I implemented those over the holidays as I assumed there would be a quiet period of a couple days. Altogether, I had 10,234 downloads of THE WATCHTOWER from February to December. It’s paid off too. The book hasn’t dropped below #55 in free occult books for the last four months.

One thing I will point out, getting those downloads wasn’t easy. While the perma-fee did bring people, it was part of a bigger marketing strategy. I submitted to a lot of book promotions sites and I was in a couple give-aways, and I’m thinking up some new ideas to promote the book as well. Marketing is a never-ending process, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. A little goes a long way.

These downloads carried over into my priced books too. I did pretty good; enough to help me get out the next two in the series; THE PROPHECIES OF MORTALS, and the side book THE SAINTS OF BELVEDERE ROAD. The fact so many priced books did sell gives me hope that the next two, hell, the whole series could do well. That thought alone keeps me going.

Enhanced Ebooks; Fact or Fiction

I heard this buzz word about a year ago—Enhanced Ebooks. Have you heard of them? Ebooks with links embedded within the text of the story, that take you to online to pictures or more information about a word or scene.

Enhanced Ebooks are supposed to be the natural evolution for ebooks. With cell phones and tablets becoming more than just something to browse the internet with, some feel that future readers will want to look at more than just words when they read a book; they’ll want to see map[s of the fantasy lands their reading, or pictures of what places or characters look like.

Geez, and just when I got the hang of formatting books. I’m a little apprehensive about these books. I can’t add a working ToC to my books, how the hell am I supposed to enhance them with other links? Not only that, but what about the really new writer who decides to go it alone and can’t afford formatting? You know enhanced books are going to bump up those rates.

There is some drawback to enhanced books, especially if you own an early version of Kindle. The first one, from what I’ve gathered, does not support any enhancements. Not a problem now, but if these evolution continues, it could be.

Don’t worry, it’s not going to happen overnight. It will probably start off slow, but as more ebooks are uploaded with these enhancements, it may very well take over. Much like the Kindle did.

You have been warned.

My Take on Ebook Pricing

There’s been a good deal of debate over the pricing of ebooks. One thought is if you price them too low, you devalue the writer and his/her work. This has caused problems with authors who do have their books either at .99 cents or free. They feel the lower price generates sales and exposure (which they do), and that will carry over to their next book.

The other side of the coin is that if you price them too high, the same as it’s paper counterpart, you run the risk of not sales, as people won’t purchase a $15 dollar ebook. I know I was taken aback when I saw a few ebooks at that price.

The thing is, you CAN’T price an ebook the same as a paper one. There is more work behind a physical book (paper, printing, distribution, book stores), compared to ebooks (digital upload, cover art, editing). The shelf life is longer for an ebook as well. There’s no big release date push for an ebook. Rather, many ebook author blogs conclude that it’s a back list of titles that brings in the money.

I think ebooks should be priced by their content. I also don’t think any ebook, no matter how big, should be over $10. Here is a breakdown of what the price will be for any future books I self-publish.

20k – 30k : 99 cents, 31k – 40k: $1.99, 41k – 50k: $2.99, 51k – 60k: $3.99, 61k – 70k:  $4.99, 71k – 80k: $5.99, etc. See the pattern? For every 10k worth of story, the price goes up by one dollar, up to a fixed price of $9.99, which would bring the word count for a $9.99 book at over 130k.

I doubt I’d write something THAT long, though.  

If all goes well, UNDER THE COVER OF WICCA will be published at the end of this month. This is a larger story than THE WATCHTOWER, over 32k so I plan on selling it for 1.99. Also, I’m taking THE WATCHTOWER out of the free category, and listing it for .99 cents. Money I make off my books goes right back into them, and I have a few more I’d like to see out there.

Anyway, that’s my take and I’m sticking to it.

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